Trying to predict what is going to happen in mobile tech during 2013 is like trying to sharpen the edge of Occam’s Razor in one of those knife sharpeners that come with an electric can opener. While it would be nice to have some simple explanations for what we’ll see and hear throughout the year, my instincts tell me that things will probably be a bit more complex and probably a bit dull as time marches on. Each of the major players in the mobile tech world made major plays in 2012. For those who insist on looking for “winners” none of those major plays altered the current race, but they did increase the pace a bit. For those, like me, who relish a healthy and competitive market place, I think we have a competitive one, I’m just not sure how healthy it is, or will be when things shake out this time next year. Last year this time we were in a state of wait-and-see. We were waiting to see what would happen with Microsoft, Google, and Amazon, and of course Apple. Stated perhaps a bit more accurately, we were waiting to see how much of a challenge Microsoft, Google, and Amazon would mount in the face of Apple’s big lead.
I guess the best way to describe how I see things at this point is that Google made some significant moves. Amazon continued its own merry way. Both of those efforts had real and positive impact on the mobile marketplace. Microsoft finally put cards on the table, but the jury is leaning towards a negative verdict in the early going. Apple confused and surprised everyone in 2012 by updating its entire product lineup, with the exception of the Mac Pro. They cleared the decks. No one really knows in anticipation of what though. Here’s how I graded my 2012 predictions.
So, let’s move on to the predictions and in the early going take them by company.
- Apple will release new products. Actually, Apple will release updates to its new products that it released in 2012. None will be that revolutionary.
- Apple will make some sort of play in the TV game.
- Apple will see ups and downs in its stock market value as things continue to remain uncertain and given that everyone likes to take shots at the leader.
- The iPad mini will look like the future of the iPad by year’s end.
- A new iPhone will be introduced. It won’t be a real game changer.
- Apple still won’t have the Cloud figured out by year’s end.
- There will be a larger number of “Apple is declining stories” than the previous year.
- Google will continue to provide Android to the masses and dominate the meaningless number game.
- Google will move further along with its Nexus lineup, delighting those who actually care about what a real Android experience actually is.
- The next version of Android will see even more design improvement in the UI and UX.
- Google and its partners still won’t be able to move the needle far enough when it comes to convincing larger numbers of developers to write for Tablets.
- Gmail will still continue to have problems.
- Microsoft will see Windows 8 gather some early momentum, then lag way behind expectations. The fall will determine the success rate of Windows 8 in all of its variants. Nothing that happens in the first quarters will eventually matter.
- Microsoft will not make changes in its marketing personnel or approach and continue to suffer because of it.
- Surface RT will continue on its path to Microsoft Bob status.
- Calls for Steve Ballmer to step down will increase.
- Windows Phone 8 will continue to be an also ran.
- Amazon will continue to bring moderate heat with its Kindle Fire line, introducing new models in the fall.
- Amazon will continue not announcing real sales figures.
- Amazon will offer its Amazon Instant Video App for all Android Tablets, thus negating the need for a Kindle Fire for many consumers.
- Talk about Amazon doing a smartphone will increase.
- Amazon will raise the price for Amazon Prime yearly membership.
And then generally
- Web companies will continue to struggle to find business models.
- There will be a least two big privacy scandals.
- Laptop and desktop sales will continue to lag behind other mobile gadgets.
- Kickstarter will begging fading away into a memory.
- RIM will see what might look like a small resurgence, but it won’t be.
- Voice control will continue to improve, but not achieve what we all would like it to.
- Carriers will continue to gouge us with data plan pricing that make no sense. Rates will rise.
- Ting will continue to grow.
- The allure of social networks will start to wane as users begin to figure out what this all really means.
- Facebook will continue to dominate for reason’s no one can fathom.
- The Rumor Game will become old and begin to wane.
- Someone is going to seriously start asking what Intel’s problem is. Finally.
- Privacy will continue to be an on again/off again issue. We still won’t have any.
- Wearable gadgets are going to become the popular thing to speculate about.
- App stores from all parties will continue to be unsearchable and undiscoverable messes.
- Marissa Mayer will continue to make news with Yahoo but the expectations game of the marketplace won’t be satisfied. The honeymoon is over.
- Twitter will continue to be popular as it continues to piss off just about everyone.